For August, I’ve been reflecting on the last 9 months. The blessing it has been to be a part of this community, to be able to learn what it’s like to live as a progressive person of faith in the Midwest. The worship themes for August are “Resistance” and “Courage,” and those are truly pieces of life here. Resisting the call to stop fighting for reproductive rights and comprehensive sexual education or health care. The courage to call people back into community when we hear racial slurs against Native people and immigrants. The courage to tell a local zealot that we have nothing to repent for in our acceptance of LGBTQ+ people.
People concerned with self-growth and spiritual depth are called to move out of their comfort zones regularly. This can be exhausting, but it can also be liberating. In our personal lives and the wider world.
I recently read a piece on the blog Brain Pickings which touches on a different form of courage. Here is a quote from Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön found in that piece on Brain Pickings:
“What makes maitri [self-compassion] such a different approach is that we are not trying to solve a problem. We are not striving to make pain go away or to become a better person. In fact, we are giving up control altogether and letting concepts and ideals fall apart. This starts with realizing that whatever occurs is neither the beginning nor the end. It is just the same kind of normal human experience that’s been happening to everyday people from the beginning of time. Thoughts, emotions, moods, and memories come and they go, and basic nowness is always here.”
This shift from resisting what is to courageously acknowledging and experiencing what is, that’s a kind of transition. What would happen in these times of fear and defensiveness if we stopped fighting our own emotions and beings in order to open up to presence?
May we be brave in our vulnerability.
May we honor the complexity of our experiences.
May we grow and thrive as a a result of our work.